What To Know About Skydiving and Colds

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Here’s the situation: You’ve made a reservation for a skydive this weekend. You’ve been excited about it for days — weeks, even! But you woke up on Friday morning with a kicking head cold. What’s a smart new skydiver to do?!

Let’s talk about skydiving with a cold. (This is an especially hot topic this time of year, as cold season is really starting to rear its ugly head, no?) As the plane goes up and the parachute comes down, that cold you’re grappling with means that your eardrums and sinus cavities are going to be under some serious pressure…and you need to know the risks.

Skydiving and Your Ears

1. Delicate eardrum + too much pressure = Pain (or pop!)

Here’s a quick primer on how it works:

The small aircraft we use to skydive — with doors that open mid-flight — aren’t pressurized. That means that the pressure outside the plane is the same pressure you experience inside the plane. Because the air is thinner higher up, that means that the pressure on your eardrums from the outside is less than the pressure on your eardrums from the inside. As you travel up in the airplane from thicker air to a thinner atmosphere, the differential creates a push from the inside to the outside as the two try to equalize. As you come down, that push reverses.

A safe, comfortable and painless skydive for your ears and nose requires that your body be able to regulate its own pressure without blockages. When you’re plugged up, the pressure just shoves on your delicate eardrum. If you’re only a little congested, you can equalize your ears in much the same way as you’d do on a scuba dive — but if you’re really congested, that might not work. In fact, the backed-up pressures might be enough to blow out an eardrum. Our suggestion: Don’t risk it. If you’re stuffy, reschedule.

2. Lots of mucus + pressure changes = A gooey embarrassing mess

If you skydive with a cold, it’s not just pain you have to worry about. There’s a potentially icky outcome in the works. Here’s what that looks like: If you skydive when you’re stuffy, the mucus that built up in your sinus cavities has a tendency to come out all at once in freefall or under canopy. That will reliably leave both you and your  Tandem Instructor a goopy mess.

Inside Skydiving Plane

3. Skydiving with a cold = No bueno

Your safety and comfort are important to us — and we’re sure they’re just as important to you. We love to take all the steps we can to make sure our customers have the very best possible skydive, every time. There you have it, then: If it’s safety and comfort you’re after on a skydive, it’s simple. No skydiving with a cold. Just reschedule! That way, your ears will have as good a jump as the rest of you, and you’ll be able to hear everyone here on the ground cheering for you when you descend down for your beautiful landing.